What is RSS and What Can it Do for You?

The Internet Patrol - Patrolling the Internet for You

RSS (which stands for either “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication”, depending on with whom you are speaking) can be thought of as software running on a website that takes new content that is posted to the site, and makes either a summary of the content, or all of the content, accessible to another companion piece of software, known as an RSS reader. The RSS reader is what the end-user runs.

The RSS software creates a “feed” (an RSS feed), and the RSS reader polls the feed every so often to see if there is new content to fetch. RSS feeds are accessible by URLs, just like a website, and in fact the majority of sites with RSS feeds have the feeds set up to be at their main web address, with “/feed” appended at the end.


For example, the RSS feed for The Internet Patrol is https://www.theinternetpatrol.com/feed/

The main advantages of (and uses for) RSS are:

1. It is an automatic way of learning about new content (articles, news, etc.) posted at websites you like to read; and

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2. It is a way of getting new articles delivered to you without having to sign up to a mailing list.*

*Note that this is true even here at the Internet Patrol, but also note that we often provide additional information through our mailing list, while our RSS feed gives you only the new articles.

There is also one (and only one, so far as we know) email-to-RSS service, which allows someone to send an email to a special web address, and then RSS readers can fetch that email. This allows people with mailing lists to provide their mailings via RSS. As it happens, that service was developed and is provided by our own parent company, ISIPP, and the service is called MailFlipz.

 

Flippy the Mailflipz Mascot

flippy-the-mailflipz-guy

Many browsers and email programs now have RSS readers built into them. For example Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 all include native RSS readers, as do the default email programs that come with both newer Mac and Windows computers.

However, there are also many good stand-alone RSS readers. We personally like Net News Wire for Mac, which also has an iPhone app.

See here for a list of RSS readers for both Windows and Mac computers.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:
What info did you find here today?:

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